View Adopted: 2021.07.12
The author is a national of Cameroon who was arrested on the 6th January 2010 and placed in pretrial detention on suspicion of misappropriation of public funds and money laundering to the detriment of the Aeroports du Cameroun. Over the following years, the Author challenged his detention before domestic courts which ruled against him and kept him in detention. In October 2015, he was acquitted of the charges against him but he was kept in pretrial detention on the grounds of orders dating back to 2011. After challenging these orders, which were denied at first, he was finally released on 1st December 2015. The author has requested the Director of the Aeroports du Cameroun to lift the suspension of his employment contract which was rejected. The author’s state of health has required him to have several surgeries, in Cameroon and France, and he continued to receive hospital treatment in detention.
Concerning the exhaustion of remedies, the Committee considers that the author’s acquittal is not final and his claims relating to improper pretrial detention and reparation for such detention remain pending before the domestic courts. The claim made under articles 2(3) and 9(5) of the Covenant is therefore considered inadmissible. The Committee considers the author’s claim that he has been deprived of an effective remedy, in violation of article 2 of the Covenant, is inadmissible because it was not invoked in relation to another provision.The claims made under articles 7 and 10 (1) were declared inadmissible because they were not raised before domestic courts and are insufficiently substantiated. The claim made under article 11 is inadmissible because it falls within the scope of criminal law and is therefore incompatible with the Covenant. All the claims made under article 14 (1) and (3) (a), (b) and (e) are declared inadmissible. This is because such claims relate to the application of domestic law by courts of the State party, which is only reviewed if it was made clear that such application was arbitrary or amounted to a manifest error or denial of justice. Moreover, the author did not specify the nature of the evidence or procedural documents to which he was denied access, nor which witness he was not able to confront.Claims that his right to be presumed innocent in violation of article 14 (2) and the excessive length of detention in violation of article 15 (1) are insufficiently substantiated as well. He claims a violation of article 9 (1)-(3) and 14 (3) (c) of the Covenant for the lawfulness of his detention and irregularities in the proceedings and arrest (no notification of his arrest and detention, length of detention which exceeded the legal maximum, no judicial investigation concerning certain allegations, held without questioning, dismissal of procedural objections), which will be the only violations examined in the merits.
The committee finds a violation of article 9 (1)-(3) of the Covenant because the fact that the author has been held in pretrial detention for over five years, having been acquitted the last two months, constitutes an abuse of pretrial detention. Moreover, the Committee finds a violation of article 14 (3) (c) because the proceedings were unduly delayed. The delay is considered all the more serious as the author had been in pretrial detention continuously since his arrest on 7 January 2010.
The State party is required to make full reparations and take appropriate steps to provide the author with compensation and measures of satisfaction.
12 January 2022